Arts & Culture » Culture

Detroit needs stores like John Varvatos

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You don't need to make the trip in to Detroit's brand-new location of John Varvatos to know their wares are perhaps a little more expensive than the average Detroiter can afford. Browse through their website and you'll see the designer's leather jackets start out at around $2,000, and a long-sleeve Henley T-shirt is $300. And while we could bemoan the fact that Detroit needs mid-range retailers the city's inhabitants can actually afford, this store's opening is, indeed, a good thing. New York wouldn't be New York without stores like Louis Vuitton, 3.1 Phillip Lim, 7 For All Mankind, Armani, and more. And perhaps the success of this store will attract other high-end merchandisers to downtown, and maybe some the rest of us can afford too.

So, yes, the stock at John Varvatos is expensive, but it's also handsomely made using fine materials. And whether you plan to purchase $400 slacks or $100 Converse sneakers, shopping here is quite an experience. The two-story store is outfitted like and old rock 'n' roller's wet dream. The floors and walls are dark wood and there's an ornate, fussy black couch and a tiger print wingback facing a heavy, metal coffee table. The floors are shrouded in the sort of oriental rugs you'd see covering the stage at a Grateful Dead concert. There's even a stage stocked with guitars and a microphone stand. Upstairs, a pair of well-worn leather armchairs make the place feel more like a swanky cigar lounge inside a historic mansion than a store.

In-store you'll find those aforementioned leather jackets, slacks, and Henley T-shirts, as well as eyewear, bags, boots, and fragrances. Stacked on coffee tables are memorabilia books on CBGB, Danny Clinch, and, of course, John Varvatos.

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